Cubs’ Willson Contreras on All-Star Game with brother William: ‘That was our dream’

The last time Cubs catcher Willson Contreras and his younger brother William played on the same team, they were kids scrounging up sticks to use as bats.

The patio doubled as a field, and they’d gather their friends to play with a plastic ball or crumpled paper wrapped in tape.

“We used to do that every single day,” Willson said. “We were just kids wanting to play baseball, dreaming of coming to the big leagues, making it [in] the big leagues and then making it to an All-Star Game. That was our dream.”

Now, they’re set to play together on the National League All-Star team next week. And they’re both lined up to start.

Fans voted in Willson as the starting catcher. William was a player ballot selection, but Phillies designated hitter Bryce Harper, who was named the starter at DH, will be inactive (broken thumb) for the game. William will take Harper’s place in the starting lineup.

While only a select few make it to the major leagues at all, it’s even rarer for brothers to share the All-Star experience.

The Contreras brothers are set to become the first siblings to appear in the All-Star Game together since Aaron and Bret Boone in 2003. They’ll also be the first brothers to play on the same All-Star team since Roberto and Sandy Alomar Jr. in 1998 and the first in the same starting lineup since the Alomar brothers in 1992.

All-Star week is going to be a whole family affair for the Contrerases.

“They deserve it more than I do, especially my mom and dad,” Willson said. “They did everything that they could to raise three kids in a poor neighborhood. And that’s not an easy job.”

William broke the news of his All-Star selection to Willson by texting him a photo of the invitation envelope on Sunday.

“It makes me even prouder of him,” Willson said. “He’s been doing a really great job in the MLB.”

In April, the Braves optioned William to Triple-A for a couple weeks, and he told Willson that he wasn’t going to go back again.

“That’s something that I really take pride in him [for],” Willson said, “because it’s not easy to say it and do it. But he’s done it, and hopefully it keeps going.”

Willson is making his third All-Star start, while this will be William’s first appearance. Willson said he’ll be happy to answer his younger brother’s questions, but he hasn’t told him what to expect.

“I want him to experience it on his own,” Willson said.

Sampson makes fourth start

Cubs right-hander Adrian Sampson came two outs shy of a quality start against the Orioles on Tuesday, allowing three runs in 5 1/3 innings.

A fourth-inning walk came back to haunt Sampson. Up next, Ram?n Ur?assent a first-pitch sinker over the wall to erase the Cubs’ one-run lead with a two-run homer.

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